Decoded Fashion - Weekly Stories - E-tail CEO Departures
Image source: The Times

Last week marked changes in the landscape of fashion e-commerce, following exits from the founders of two of e-tail’s biggest names, ASOS and Net-A-Porter.

Nick Robertson of ASOS stepped down from his role as CEO on Wednesday, having been at the helm of the company for 15 years, though he will remain on the board as a non-executive director. Robertson founded ASOS – originally known as As Seen On Screen due to its replication of celebrity-endorsed fashion – in 2000.

He will be replaced by ASOS’s chief operating officer Nick Beighton, who has been described as “such an able successor for the CEO role” by Brian McBride, the company’s chairman.

Natalie Massenet’s departure from luxury e-tailer Net-A-Porter was also announced on Wednesday. The news came ahead of Net-A-Porter’s pending merger with Italian retailer Yoox SpA. The all-shares merger, which will conceive the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group, is expected to close later in the month.

Massenet has left Net-A-Porter on a high, taking more than £100m ($153m) after selling shares in the company she founded in 2000.

Since the merger between the rival companies was announced in March, grievances had been aired regarding alleged personality clashes between Massenet – who is known for her positive, democratic approach to team leading – and Yoox’s founder Federico Marchetti, who has previously declared “there is no love” between him and his employees.

In an interview with the Financial Times in May, Marchetti said of his company’s merger with its British rival: “I don’t think any merger in history has been so perfect on paper,” before adding that there would only be one boss of the Yoox Net-A-Porter Group: himself.

While both parties have been tight-lipped regarding Massenet’s departure – and, indeed, where she plans to go next – the 50-year-old Net-A-Porter founder said in a statement: “The business I started in 2000 could not be in better shape today. Having joined forces with Yoox Group, the company will be bigger, stronger and superbly well positioned under Federico’s leadership to lead the industry and create the future of fashion.”

Reported by Grace Howard


“So Natalie Massenet, founder of the online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter, is going offline. On Wednesday, in the wake of a merger with yoox.com, Ms. Massenet resigned as executive chairwoman of the Net-a-Porter Group (she was to be executive chairwoman of the combined group; the Yoox chief executive, Federico Marchetti, was to be group chief executive). Thursday morning, she issued an official statement.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Natalie Massanet x Net-A-Porter

“Raffaello Napoleone is expected to be named interim president of Yoox Group. Napoleone, who is chief executive officer of Florence-based trade show organizer Pitti Immagine, said Wednesday that the final decision will be taken by the company’s board on April 30.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Yoox


In a year that’s seen e-commerce upstarts like V-Files bring young designers to the forefront, and Farfetch become a rare fashion retail ‘unicorn’ after being valued at $1 billion, commentators have been waiting for a shake up amongst the industry’s biggest players. That shake-up came last Tuesday, when Richemont SA confirmed it will merge Net-a-Porter with Italian rival Yoox SpA. As the fashion world and consumers alike react to the news, we’ve got the lowdown on what to expect next.

The facts:

The historic deal will create the Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, trading on the Italian Stock Exchange – at the hotseat, it brings together former rivals in the companies’ respective founders, Federico Marchetti and Natalie Massenet. As Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont, stated this week, joining forces will safeguard the industry in times when established models are being increasingly disrupted. “It is with this in mind that we believe it is important to increase leadership and size to protect the uniqueness of the luxury industry,” he said. In numbers, the new powerhouse will create a business with combined net revenues in 2014 of £950m, with some 24 million visitors to its sites every month.

The reaction:

Apart from going over the somewhat intimidating numbers that will result from the deal, fashion commentators have been optimistic about what it means for the industry. While its tempting to see it as a damaging monolith, as Suzy Menkes writes in Vogue, the deal could do a lot to help smaller designers through the involvement of Federico Marchetti’s other site, The Corner. For her, the deal ‘will arguably do more to help small fashion talents than any bricks-and-mortar store alone could possibly imagine.’ But, as Thao Hua writes in the Wall Street Journal, the deal’s success will rely on the two companies overcoming their apparent differences – reminding readers that the two business ‘cater to different crowds.’

The future:

The plan after the transaction is for Yoox Net-a-Porter to raise a capital increase of as much as 200 million euros ($216 million), in order to propel expansion and gain new shareholders. The deal will go into effect in September.

All eyes will be on Natalie Massenet, the former Tatler journalist turned one-woman fashion powerhouse, as to how she approaches the new challenge of a merger from this September. All that’s certain is that the deal will create more than just a fashion mega-business – the combination of the ground breaking technological architecture behind each company will be as game changing as the clothes.

For more from Net-a-Porter as it enters a new era, catch  Sarah Watson (VP Social Commerce) and Alexandra Hoffnung (Creative Director, Social Commerce) at our London Summit. The pair, who have worked closely with Natalie Massenet to change the rulebook of luxury fashion online, will be providing insight into R&D and entrepreneurialism in their talk, ‘Evolving ecommerce for the social generation.’

Book your ticket for the London Summit here.

 Reported by Claire Healy


“On Monday, Yoox Group and Richemont both confirmed that they were in talks regarding a “potential business combination” of Yoox and Net-a-Porter. Just 24 hours later, that deal has been solidified: According to a statement from Richemont, it has signed an agreement to merge Net-a-Porter with Yoox into a new entity called the “Yoox Net-a-Porter Group.””

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Yoox x Net-A-Porter

“The Yoox Group, the Italian e-commerce luxury retailer, said on Monday that it was in discussions with Compagnie Financière Richemont of Switzerland about a “potential business combination” with Net-a-Porter, a British rival.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily -  Yoox x Net-A-Porter

“Through the Yoox.com WeChat account, users will be able to send instant messages to the company’s customer care and personal stylists, along with the ability to access exclusive shopping areas and special contents.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - WeChat

“Yoox.com is set to make its debut into the sportswear arena. In September, the Italian e-tailer will launch a new shopping area dedicated to activewear for women, men and children.”

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Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Yoox Sportswear

Decoded Fashion - Fashion Tech Daily - Zappos


1. Birchbox, Seller of Beauty Products, Steps Out From Web With a Store

Birchbox plan to extend their online presence to offline by opening their first brick-and-mortar store in SoHo, New York.

2. How Yoox became the Amazon of the Fashion World

With two million orders placed every year and net revenues up over 20 per cent from last year, Yoox has become one of the leading e-tailing sites in fashion. A glimpse into the company’s operations and history.

3. How Tech Startups are Taking the Fashion Runway by Storm

“Fashion is not your typical tech startup” – How fashion-tech is democratizing the fashion industry and making it more tailored to consumers’ needs than ever before.

4. Zappos Creates Personalized Shopping Experience For Instagram’s #OOTD Fans

Zappos are harnessing the potential of the approximately 23 million #OOTD-tagged images on Instagram with their ‘Next OOTD campaign.’

This year could not have started better for Lyst, the London born eCommerce platform! Today, the company announced a $14 million dollar investment, led by Balderton Capital, one the largest venture capital firms in Europe.

Lyst works with some of the world’s leading brands such as Saks, Burberry, J.Crew, Net-A-Porter and Balenciaga In order to provide consumers a more personalized approach to the latest trends.

In 2013, the business grew over 400%. Lyst currently generates over $60 million annually in sales due to its 2 million monthly users and it is backed by a range of investors including  Accel Partners (Facebook, Spotify), DFJ (Skype, Hotmail) as well as the teams behind Oscar de la Renta and Tory Burch.

The investment led by Balderton, a company which had previously invested in YOOX, will enable Lyst to grow and position themselves as an e-commerce leader in the fashion space. “We’re thrilled to have Balderton join us on our journey.” stated


Chris Morton, Lyst CEO and cofounder. “2013 was an amazing year for us, particularly as we launched fashion’s first universal shopping cart, which is revolutionizing the space by enabling shoppers to check out from multiple brands and stores in a single step on site.”

Lyst’s main focus will be internationalization and hiring new talent throughout New York and London.

The company, which launched in 2010, has now raised over $20 million.  In 2013, Lyst was recognized by the British Government as one of the fastest growing companies in the UK. It has also won the TechCrunch top award for the leading European startup in Fashion, Art or Music.